Here’s A Quiz For You

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This is a guest post by Richard Lowery, Jr.

Below is a brief quiz regarding some issues that are of serious concern for our country.  People who are much more intelligent than a hayseed like me, such as university professors, Washington D.C. think tank occupants and members of the media, have postulated modern sophisticated answers to these questions.

Let’s take the quiz and see how well you do!

  • Many of our neighborhoods are crime ridden putting the safety of families at risk. You are handed a magic wand to fix the problem.  You get one wave of the magic wand to change one thing.  What is the best thing for you to wish for?
    1. Elect more Democrats
    2. Double down on the progressive narrative that the real problems are cops gone bad, Trump supporting deplorables and the sinister workings of Western Civilization. Put body cameras on law enforcement personnel and pass legislation that outlaws all guns including slingshots that fire objects larger than a kernel of corn.
    3. Create a new federal department called: The Department of the Bureau of Unnecessary Layer upon Layer of Studies that Hinder Ideas and Thinking (The U.S. Department of B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T.)
    4. Have way more people attend church every week.
  • School test scores are not competitive with other countries. You are handed a magic wand to fix the problem.  You get one wave of the magic wand to change one thing.  What is the best thing for you to wish for?
    1. Elect more Democrats
    2. Empower the already powerful teacher’s unions with more powerful power.
    3. Create a new federal department called: The Department of Vocational Obfuscation for the Mindless Increase in Testing S (The U.S. Department of V.O.M.I.T.S.)
    4. Have way more people attend church every week.
  • Single parent households are increasing causing unstable family structures, childhood poverty and other social pathologies. You are handed a magic wand to fix the problem.  You get one wave of the magic wand to change one thing.  What is the best thing for you to wish for?
    1. Elect more Democrats
    2. Create a fleet of helicopters to fly over the country to drop condoms on the nation’s cities, towns, villages and farms. Then attach a Planned Parenthood clinic to every Catholic church.
    3. Create a new federal department called: The Department of the Bureau of Absurd Daffy Inane Derisive & Entirely Awful Solutions. (The U.S. Department of B.A.D. I.D.E.A.S.)
    4. Have way more people attend church every week.
  • Our civil society is deteriorating. People feel lonelier, less engaged with each other and the civic bonds that previously held us together seems to be deteriorating.  You are handed a magic wand to fix the problem.  You get one wave of the magic wand to change one thing.  What is the best thing for you to wish for?
    1. Elect more Democrats
    2. Institute a “smile at someone” federal tax credit that creates incentives for taxpayers to grin at people they don’t know. The program will allow people to write off on their taxes the expense of smiling at total strangers.  Hire 30,000 IRS agents to audit taxpayer smiling activity to ensure that the program is not abused.
    3. Create a new federal department called: The Department of Silly Taxes & Unbelievably Preposterous IRS D (The U.S. Department of S.T.U.P.I.D.)
    4. Have way more people attend church every week.

So, how well did you do on the quiz?  If you selected the answers 1 through 3 then you agree with most university professors, Washington D.C. think tank occupants and members of the media.   The bad news is that you are wrong, but the good news is that you should immediately apply for a job in one of those fields since they are always looking for people with credulously incorrect world views like yours.

If you selected the answers listed after d, then you are right.  That is the good news.  But, the bad news is that this means that our societal difficulties cannot easily be fixed by all-purpose solutions generated by our technocratic superiors who like put all our problems in various neat boxes adorned with colorful charts and then drone out centralized decisions that no-one (including them) really understands and have all the proceedings broadcasted on C-span in the evening so I can watch their vapidity in action which makes me fall asleep on my couch thereby dropping the glass of soda that I was holding causing me to wake up suddenly and startle my dog.

Voluminous studies that could fill the gilded banquet halls of Trump Tower reveal that the personal decisions made by individuals have the largest impact on life’s outcomes.   And whether we like it or not the best way that our species has come up with to transmit from generation to generation those practices that lead to good personal behavior is through organized religion.   There is no better way to defer lechery, greed, sloth, avarice or the punching of your little sister when mother is not looking than the notion that a consistent accumulation of bad earthly checkmarks may lead to an eternal room assignment in Hotel Hell.  And if you are bad enough, then you might even be condemned to watch an endless loop of Barney shows and Hillary Clinton speeches which is enough to make anyone wail and gnash their teeth.

Study after study shows that neighborhood crime, violence and poverty are reduced when stable families are prevalent and the data affirms that religious worship tends to produce stable families.   Members of religious institutions account for a large proportion of secular social capital that we used to take for granted.  (1)

Religious worshippers are … much more likely than other persons to visit friends, to entertain at home, to attend club meetings, and to belong to sports groups; professional and academic societies; school service groups; youth groups; service clubs; hobby or garden clubs; literary, art discussion and study groups; school fraternities and sororities; farm organizations; political clubs; nationality groups; and other miscellaneous groups. (2)

Social Scientist Charles Murray further reports that:

Churches serve specifically as a resource for sustaining a democratic citizenry.  Various studies have found that active involvement in church serves as a kind of training center for important social skills.  All these relationships hold true even after controlling for demographic and socio-economic variables.  People who attend church… have longer life expectancies, less disability in old age, and more stable marriages.   There is strong evidence for the relationship to religiosity to happiness and satisfaction with life, self-esteem, less depression and less substance abuse.  The list goes on, including many positive outcomes for children raised by religious parents.” (3)

The results appear to be in.  More religion – on average – means better societal outcomes.  Yet, our intellectual betters – the good people at Harvard, the New York Times and many quarters of the Democratic Party – are getting more secular.   What the heck?

Let us agree that religion does not cure all ills since we humans are weak creatures either because of our fallen nature due to original sin – or for the more secular among us – due to unfortunate genetic coding through the accidental deterministic process of evolution.  (4)  Yet even the more insightful of our progressive brethren will acknowledge the positive societal impact of faith, but they are uncomfortable with many old time religious values.   Religion is fine if it does not get in the way of the good works done by abortionists and if the faithful stay quiet about their beliefs in the public square.   Religion is fine if we can distribute contraceptives to 9th grade students but don’t allow them to pray in school.   Religion is fine if it is put in a box, secularized and conforms to the editorial positions of the Washington Post.

The problem with this approach is that it neuters traditional religion by turning it a watered-down smiley faced pile of niceties that demands little of its adherents; hence they may give little back.  One might as well join a book club where you meet once a month to bring delicious snacks to eat and have some non-judgmental conversation where you must be careful not to step on anyone’s toes.   But, the positive societal results will be minimal.  Book clubs tend not to do things like encourage people to devote one’s life to help orphans, raise money to take care of indigent strangers, minister to the sick, delay gratification, avoid self-destructive behaviors or just help a neighbor.   Bible thumping evangelicals will spend their vacations building houses for the less fortunate because they believe that the big guy upstairs wants them to do these things, but such activities are not often organized by book clubs which are not designed to guide their members toward eternal happiness.   When you have a lot of skin in the game, then you tend to be more willing to put in more effort.

Our intellectual betters take issue with traditional religion because it gets in the way of their world view which transfers responsibility from the individual to “society.”  When vacuous blame can be assigned to personified entities like society, then it increases the importance of our secularized superiors who fancy their lot as the new high priests who should dictate values to the knuckle-dragging unwashed masses as opposed to the priests, ministers or rabbis who base their beliefs in bronze age semi superstitious creeds that grew out of the misty past.   Progressive elites believe that they have access to new and improved psychoanalytic and central planning scientific insights; hence, when presented with counter arguments based on Judeo-Christian values, their common response is, “back off man, this is science!”  (5)  Of course, there is nothing wrong with science, it’s just that: a) science is being misapplied to the wrong topics, and b) even the “data” used by our technocratic superiors to browbeat us into submission is sometimes suspect, inconclusive and does not support their conclusions.  (6)  Our secularist friends have such fervent beliefs that they often take the liberty of unilaterally relieving themselves from burdens like common sense, evidentiary standards and any responsibility when their knuckleheaded programs go astray.

So, it is all very tiring.  Solutions that don’t solve problems are constantly being trotted out and vast sums of money are shoveled at unhelpful bureaucratic schemes that – at times – even aggravate the situation.   Sometimes the best answer is not more Democrats, more bureaucratic regulations or more government, but rather to just tell someone “knock it off man and get your sorry butt to church or you will burn in hell.”

Richard J. Lowery Jr is a hayseed from upstate New York who has about a 50/50 chance of burning in hell.

Footnotes

(1) Charles Murray, Coming Apart, (New York: Cox and Murray, 2012), pp 200- 201

(2) Charles Putnam, Bowling Alone, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000) p. 67

(3) Murray p. 201

(4) It is interesting to note that Roman Catholic theology has never had a major quarrel with evolution.  The 1909 Catholic Encyclopedia said that evolutionary concepts appear to be, “in perfect agreement with the Christian conception of the universe.”   For a good three ½ page recap of the Catholic thought on this issue see,” Stephen Barr, “The Design of Evolution”, First Things, #156, (October 2005), pp 9 -12.

(5)   This is a paraphrase from the Bill Murray line in Ghostbuster’s: “Back off man, I’m a scientist.”  It is one of my favorite movie lines and – in my opinion – it is right up there with the Strother Martin line in Cool Hand Luke: “What we got here is a failure to communicate!”

(6) Our intellectual superiors have been known to bald-faced lie so that they can educate us on the errors of our benighted ways.  Some of the all-time reprehensible whoppers occurred leading up to the Roe vs Wade decision when pro-abortion advocates were giving the public a hard sell on the virtues of abortion.   Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who was a prominent leader in the effort to legalize abortion, years later wrote about tactics of deceit that were used at the time.

We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal enlightened, sophisticated one. Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60% of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority.  We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200 – 250 annually. The figure constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law. Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1500% since legalization.” Bernard Nathanson: “Confessions of an Ex-Abortionist” In The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind. (Regenery Publishing, 2001) as quoted by www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/abortion/articles-and-addresses/an-ex-abortionist-speaks/